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Short Synopsis
A sweeping, interdisciplinary history of the world's third-largest river, a potent symbol across South Asia and the Hindu diaspora.

Full Synopsis
A sweeping, interdisciplinary history of the world's third-largest river, a potent symbol across South Asia and the Hindu diaspora.

Originating in the Himalayas and flowing into the Bay of Bengal, the Ganges is India's most important and sacred river. In this unprecedented work, historian Sudipta Sen tells the story of the Ganges, from the communities that arose on its banks to the merchants that navigated its waters, and the way it came to occupy center stage in the history and culture of the subcontinent.

Sen begins his chronicle in prehistoric India, tracing the river's first settlers, its myths of origin in the Hindu tradition, and its significance during the ascendancy of popular Buddhism. In the following centuries, Indian empires, Central Asian regimes, European merchants, the British Empire, and the Indian nation-state all shaped the identity and ecology of the river. Weaving together geography, environmental politics, and religious history, Sen offers a remarkable portrait of one of the world's largest and most densely populated river basins.

"Sudipta Sen blends geology and ecology with the legendary in a way that is scholarly and sophisticated while always entertaining and often moving to read." -Ruth Harris, University of Oxford

"This stunningly original, beautifully crafted book is the best history of the Ganges that currently exists. At once a work of 'deep' history, of intellectual and cultural history, and of religious studies . . . This is deep, patient scholarship of a kind that one rarely sees." -Sunil Amrith, author of Crossing the Bay of Bengal

Ganges

The Many Pasts of an Indian River

Author Sudipta Sen

Narrated by Neil Shah

Publication date Jan 22, 2019

Running time 15 hrs

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